Taiwan Legislative Yuan approves budget for 66 F-16V fighter jets

Taiwan and the U.S. could sign a pricing agreement in December

The Legislative Yuan has approved the F-16V budget.

The Legislative Yuan has approved the F-16V budget. (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – The Legislative Yuan on Friday (November 22) approved the NT$247.23 billion (US$8.1 billion) budget to procure 66 F-16V jets from the United States.

The passage of the third reading for the budget happened quickly and with only NT$10 million being cut from the government proposal, allowing the military to sign an agreement with the U.S. next month, the Central News Agency reported.

The “Viper” jets will eventually be stationed at the Zhihang Air Force Base in Southeastern Taiwan’s Taitung County.

According to a motion passed last October 29, a maximum limit of NT$250 billion was imposed on the special budget for the jets.

Government officials had described the approval of the sale by the U.S. as proof that Washington regarded Taiwan as a key partner in its Indo-Pacific strategy as China continued strengthening its military, and in particular its Air Force and Navy.

The fact that it took Taiwan’s lawmakers less than a month to pass the third reading of the budget could be described as fast, according to CNA. Legislators from both government and opposition agreed to drop the frequent one-month negotiation period available in such cases due to what they regarded as the importance of the jet deal to the country’s defense capabilities.